The Iran football team clinched a thrilling 2-0 win over a Gareth Bale-led Wales side on Friday at the FIFA World Cup 2022. In spite of their loss, the Wales fans did not leave the stadium and while applauding their own heartbroken players, they also clapped for the valiant Iran team who are already in trouble for defying the regime at home.

The players received a lot of flak from the government after they did not sing the national anthem in support of the protestors at home during their first match against England. After the protest by the  players in Qatar, Voria Ghafouri, a former Iran player, was arrested for allegedly tarnishing “the reputation of the national team and spread propaganda against the state.”

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The players were also threatened with action if they don’t sing the national anthem, and as a result, they did sing it today under a lot of pressure. No matter what they do, and how many wins they bag, it is unlikely that they will be praised by Iranian authorities. Many of them will possibly face action.

The Wales fans at the stadium were applauding the courage and resilience of the Iran players in the wake of crackdowns on them. 

Both of Iran’s goals came in injury time as a 10-men Wales team struggled to defend against Iran’s quick counter-attacks, especially after going a goal down right at the beginning of extra time. 

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“We did it for them, that’s the only reason we are here, to play for the fans,” Iran’s coach Carlos Queiroz said after the match. 

“It is just the beginning. We need to finish the job. I don’t have words how to say thank you to our players. They deserve all the respect,” he continued. “The players deserve to be supported. We did it for them. We did it for the fans.”